Daily Office:


Matins: Sunday on Orchard Street, on the Lower East Side, is still a big shopping day, but I have cropped all of that out of the photograph because I was more interested in the bishop’s-crook streetlamp. And we weren’t there to shop.

Prime: You may have heard that the nation of Belgium is on a course to split in two — Flanders (where they speak a kind of Dutch) and Wallonia (where they speak a kind of French — and also, just to keep things simple, a kind of German). Wallonia used to be rich, in the way of extractive economies, but is now poor; while Flanders used to be poor, in the way of rural economies, but is now rich. Brussels, the French-speaking capital, lies within Flanders.

Tierce: Glorioski! We must be back in the Fifties — because that’s the last time that anybody capable of being published on the Op-Ed page (or its equivalent in those days) produced anything as goofily unsophisticated as Edward N Luttwalk’s argument against Barack Obama: “President Apostate?

Sext: Earthquake in China: Schadenfreude alert.


§ Matins. We were there to have wedding-related get-together. Megan’s other Dad, Phil Hickman, was visiting New York for the first time, and we assembled at the Café Charbon to meet him and his delightful companion, Penny. While the Texans checked out the street vendors, and before Ryan’s parents arrived, I snapped this shot of Kathleen and the newlyweds.


Newlyweds? Kathleen noticed that Megan was wearing a wedding ring, and at first wondered why, because, like me with my ancient brain, she still thinks that Megan will be getting married in November. A November event is indeed still planned.

If I detailed the comprehensive itinerary that Megan devised for her visitors’ thirty-six hour trip, you would gasp. I do think that they saw just about everything, south of the Wollman Rink at least. 

§ Prime. Writer Luc Sante (100% Wallonian, and still carrying a Belgian passport) lays out the situation with characteristic tidiness, at Pinakothek. It’s hard to imagine that the split will lead to widespread violence in a core EU nation, but the attempt to “take Brussels back” from the Francophones won’t be pretty.

§ Tierce. Because Mr Obama is the son of a Muslim, his being a Christian today makes him an apostate, punishable by you-know-what. The essay combines the hysteria of the Clinton campaign with the lunacy of the McCain.

Tomorrow: Saudis put New York to the sword: convert or die!

We’re having a blustery fall day this morning. It’s brisk and grey and prone to spit rain. The air, however, is equinoctially rich, full of the deep fragrance of North Atlantic earth. Walking to the bank, I felt as though I were on my way to elementary school — only life was vastly more interesting, not to say pleasant.

§ Sext. Not that the woes of good people of Sichuan would be cause any secret satisfaction. Rather, one has to guard against hoping that the government will fail to do the right thing. Prime Minister Wen Jiabao is already on the scene, which seems both commendable and unprecedented.

In news closer to home, Kathleen, who had hoped to rest up at home today but couldn’t, because of an unavoidable meeting, is on her way home now. Surprised when the meeting ended much sooner than expected (no small thanks, she says, to her excellent partner), she wisely decided to act before thinking twice. She asked me to have tea and toast ready, so I’d better get into the kitchen.

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